After a frustrating night in Munich, Barcelona returns home to close the first phase of the season at the Camp Nou, against a struggling Elche side. After the game, club football will be paused for two weeks, meanwhile, international games take the center stage.
Date: Saturday, September 17th, 2022
Competition: La Liga
Match Day: 07
Venue: Camp Nou
Time: 04:15 pm Central European Time (Barcelona)
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), Premier Player (UK), Movistar+ (Spain)
The Ilicitans started the season in a forgettable fashion as they are currently sitting in last place on the league table, having earned just 1 point in 5 games so far. In plus, they have the worst expected goal difference, which does not vision an optimistic future for Francisco Rodríguez’s team.
Indeed, their results so far may not reflect their true ability as their 4 losses came against Betis, Sociedad, Villarreal, and Bilbao, which are all good teams. In fact, their only point came against the newly promoted Almería, a team fighting for similar goals, a direct rival in the battle for survival.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say this team is one of the weakest ones in the league since their promotion in 2020, which is always just around the elimination line. In the past 2 seasons, they have been lucky to stay clear of the relegation zone due to a constant overperformance, mostly thanks to the effectivity of their forwards like Lucas Boyé, Pere Milla, and Fidel along with the class of Édgar Badía in the goal.
However, this kind of overperformance is impossible to sustain, especially for a team like this. It was great while it lasted, but finally, the miraculous fairytale of Los Franjiverdes seems to come to an end, and the shadow of the dropout is inevitably getting real.
Moreover, Elche have lost one of their most important player in Johan Mojica to Villarreal, and the likes of Darío Benedetto and Lucas Pérez had left the club as well. On the other side, they have also made a couple of transfers and swooped in the likes of Olaza, Roger, Lirola, and our young loanee, Álex Collado.
Even with these transfers, Elche’s future doesn’t look good, and the fact that they are meeting Barcelona doesn’t help either. Despite the bitter defeat against Bayern, the Blaugrana showed a clear sign that they are capable to compete even against teams of such caliber.
Subsequent to the failure of the midweek clash, the players won’t be in lack of motivation, and will surely look to end their impressive run of form with a victory before the international break. Also, changes may be made compared to the starting XI against Bayern, giving opportunities to the (mainly) reserve players.
Nonetheless, unless some kind of miracle happens, Barcelona must keep these 3 points at home. Of course, no opponent should be taken lightly, and we should take this challenge – along with every other one, no matter how easy it might seem – with maximum focus, and end our September run on a high note in front of the culé faithful.
Potential Line up:
Goal Keeper: Ter Stagen
Defenders: Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, Gavi
Forwards: Fati, Lewandowski, Dembele